Court convicts Duzimed gunman

2009-10-19 00:00

HIGH Court Judge Leona Theron with two assessors on Friday convicted Elphas Dladla of murder for shooting his wife’s alleged lover in Duzimed Pharmacy on March 23, 2007.

Judge Theron said in the court’s judgment there was no basis on which Dladla could reasonably or honestly have believed that his own life or that of his wife were in danger from the victim, Denis Mandla Khanyile, when he fired at him, emptying his magazine.

She found instead that evidence clearly revealed that Dladla was the aggressor and fired in anger.

Dladla admitted that he fired nine bullets “towards” Khanyile, a local traffic officer.

He claimed his wife admitted to him that she’d had an affair with Khanyile since 2006, and said he’d wanted her to end the relationship in his presence when they saw ­Khanyile enter the pharmacy.

Both their children, including a two-month-old, were present.

Dladla pleaded self-defence and testified that when he saw Khan­yile’s hand move towards the back of his waist he believed Khanyile was drawing a firearm. He drew his own 9 mm pistol from its holster under his shirt, cocked it and fired. He claimed he pulled the trigger only once and continued to “squeeze” it until he suddenly realised the magazine was empty. He alleged Khanyile fell only after the last shot was fired.

The judge said it was difficult to reconcile Dladla’s version with the position of the injuries on Khanyile — on the right side of his head, both upper arms and the left thigh — which instead supported the version of a state witness, Nhlakanipho Mathabela, that Khanyile fell after the first shot and was shot as he lay on the floor.

The judge said the words that Dladla uttered to Khanyile in his own version — “Mandla, here is your wife, take her” — were not indicative of an intention by him to reconcile with his wife, as he claimed.

Judge Theron said Dladla had served as a police reservist since 1998 and received “fairly extensive” firearms training.

She said he was evasive in his answers to questions that posed difficulty for him and the court was not satisfied with his description of the actual shooting. He remembered all other events in “meticulous detail”, but was vague about the shooting itself. For example he could not recall how he held his firearm or what Khanyile was doing when he shot him.

At the conclusion of the judgment the court granted defence advocate Fanie Slabbert a postponement until January 22 to obtain correctional supervision and social workers’ reports.

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